Villafuerte scion gets backlash for bashing Robredo

Jonathan de Santos
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom
Julio Villafuerte's apology.

What may have been an innocent question on Twitter turned out to be a political statement.

In another case of 'think before you tweet', a member of a Bicol-based political clan drew the ire of netizens who saw political color in his tweet about the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

Julio Villafuerte, son of Camarines Sur Governor Luis Villafuerte Jr. and grandson to Rep. Luis Villafuerta Sr., has apologized for his tweets questioning the nation's reaction to Robredo's death.

His tweets, since deleted, said he had "been reading Jess Robredo tweets for weeks now. Someone please inform me of any major accomplishments Jess has done, coz I don't know any."

"Neil Armstrong's name was all over twitter for 2 days when he died. Jess Robredo's name has been on for weeks when he died. #whatsupwiththat," he also said.

"I don't mean to hate, I'm just more interested in reading about other news that's going on in the Philippines," Villafuerte, who lists his location on Twitter as Los Angeles/Manila/CamSur, said.

His tweets has since prompted online backlash from netizens especially from Bicolanos and Naga residents. The reactions on Twitter contrasted the Villafuertes with Robredo.

Villafuerte's grandfather, congressman for Camarines Sur, was reportedly the reason the Commission on Appointments did not confirm Robredo as Department of Interior and Local Government secretary. Rep. Villafuerte had reportedly wanted Robredo to explain graft cases from his time as Naga City mayor.

The lawmaker has denied this, saying Robredo was already scheduled for confirmation when he died in a plane crash off the coast of Masbate.

Apology and backlash

Villafuerte, still on his Twitter account, apologized "if I had offended anyone in my precious tweets. I did not mean to disrespect sec.jess. I was merely inquiring about his life."

"I was away from home & was out of the loop. I understand It's not a justification for my actions. It was my responsibility & am truly sorry," he also said.

Despite the apology, online brickbats kept coming.

Twitter user Peter Serrano, advised Villafuerte to "read, open the internet and ask around before saying anything, which I did."

"I never knew of him (Robredo) b4 until his death.Now he's my hero," Serrano added.

Twitter user Vincent Benjamin had this to say: "We should all thank @juli0v. At least his stupidity managed to further bring into light the uselessness of his family. #whatsupwiththat."

Screenshots of Villafuerte's tweets were also shared on Facebook, with one photo shared at least 1,000 times.

"Clearly this guy doesn't know any better. He's really living out by his name," Paolita Parma said on Facebook.

Facebook user Mein Prado Jr., meanwhile, had this to say: "Sec. Jess was an example of a good father to his daughters, JV why don't you suggest to your father to do the example shown by Sec.Jess to his family."

Cultural activist Carlos Celdran, said, however, that he understood where Villafuerte was coming from. "His lack of media exposure is why Robredo's great. But also why young people like @juli0v didn't hear much about him," he said.

"Don't worry much. You do have a point. Why didn't the PH/Media/Govt lionize Robredo more while alive? Why only when dead? Sigh," Celdran also said.